ONE SMALL STEP
A vignette about the tv show, Cupid
by Steve 0yervidez
"Trevor, prove it to me."
"Prove what, Claire?"
"Prove to me that you're really Cupid."
"Wait... Trevor... what are you doing?"
"Don't get excited, Sparky. I'm just offering you my hand. Come on, Stand up, Claire."
"Ok, Trevor. I'm standing. Now what?"
"No, not like that. Stand in front of the bar. Facing the door. Here, let me help..."
"Hey! Watch it, Trevor. Explain to me again how you standing so close behind me like this is supposed to help?"
"Well, it helps me... Oww! That's a very strong elbow jab you've got, Claire."
"A defensive reflex from all our time together."
"Look, I was just kidding. It'll be okay. Totally innocent, I promise. Don't worry that beautiful face of yours. This isn't a come on. Just proof, like you asked. Now... I'm going to reach around-"
"-and hold your arms, Claire. Just your arms. Come on, lift them up from your sides... be a big girl, there you go, just like that."
"Why do I feel like I'm on Candid camera? Trevor, I feel ridiculous doing this. People are watching."
"Let them, Claire. You can't find an answer like this one until you risk asking the question. Now don't freak out or anything, but I'm going to press in a little closer behind you and hold your arms up. Right. Just like that. Keep them horizontal to the ground. There. Does this bother you?"
"That you're holding my arms or that you're standing so close?"
"Great. Now close your eyes, Claire."
"Just so you know, I have some mace within easy reach, Trevor."
"You won't need it. Trust me a little. Close your eyes..."
"Ok, Trevor. I'll go along with this for now. Fine. My eyes are closed. Just watch your hands."
"Sure. Although I'm more interested in watching your other areas. Now I'm going to lean in a little closer. So I can whisper into your ear, ok?"
"I guess... that's ok, Trevor."
"Wow. You smell good. Now listen to my voice. Wait... why are you laughing?"
"I'm sorry, Trevor. I couldn't help it. Your breath tickled my neck. I'm sorry. Go on."
"Ok. Keep your eyes closed, Claire. Concentrate on my voice. Don't think about the room. Don't think about tour problems. Just listen to my voice. It's quiet. Soft. Now... take a step."
"Take a step forward."
"Trevor, if this is some-"
"Trust me, Claire. Take a step forward... there. That's it. Neil Armstrong would be proud."
"Now what, Trevor? Can I open my eyes?"
"Not yet. Listen to my voice. I'm whispering in your ear. Forget that I'm behind you. Forget where you are. Let all that go... It's five years from now. You're... you're still at Taggerty's. Can you see it?"
"Umm... Sure. I guess."
"It's five years from now and you've finally had enough of me, Claire. You're totally fed up because you haven't been able to 'cure' me. It's been five years of work, day after day, and I still think I'm Cupid as much as I ever did."
"Hmmm, that doesn't sound very encouraging for me, Trevor."
"So you hand me off to another therapist. I beg you not to. I plead with you. But you don't listen. Despite all our years together, you decide it's best if you cut me out of your life. We grow apart. We never see each other. And eventually you forget completely about that nutball psychotic who thought he was Cupid."
"Trevor, I don't think I could ever forget-"
"But you already did, Claire. You already have. Five years from now. You go on with your life. And eventually, I stop trying to find you again, when I realize that you really meant it when you left."
"You were trying to find me?"
"Yes. But you covered your tracks too well, Claire. So I stopped trying to find you and I went on with my life."
"What are you trying to tell me, Trevor?"
"It's too late for questions, Claire. I'm gone. Out of your life. That part's over. You can't get it back. Just listen to my voice. Five years from now, we go our separate ways. Keep your eyes closed. Now... take another step."
"Ok, Trevor. I took another step. You better not let me trip into anything."
"I won't let you fall, Claire. I'm always right here, holding your arms."
"Good. I... I trust you, Trevor. Now what?"
"Keep your eyes closed. See it all in your head. You're back in Chicago again on business after you had moved away. Now it's been ten years. You haven't heard from me in a decade. You're married, Claire, but you've never had any children. Maybe because your marriage is stale, bland. Dying. Over the last couple of years, you've slowly come to realize that maybe you don't love him. Maybe you never did. He never surprises you. He's ordinary. Predictable. You think of me sometimes, but not that often. Of course, I think of you all the time and miss you like crazy, no pun intended. But there is no way you would know that."
"You would miss me, Trevor?"
"You don't know that, Claire. You never even suspect. Just listen. You're in Chicago. It's ten years from now. You rarely think of me, but today, for some reason, you do. It happens when you suddenly drive past Taggerty's in your car. You hadn't realized you were nearby. It's still right here. Still open. Right here at the same address, sitting sadly in a cold Chicago rain storm. So you pull over, pull your coat a little tighter around you, and step into the rain. You're a little reluctant about entering, unsure of what you'll find, but finally you go in, with water drops on your coat, in your hair. You wipe them off your forehead as you look around, remembering."
"Where are you Trevor? Are you still tending bar?"
"That's what you were hoping. But I left three years ago. When I admitted to myself that you really weren't coming back. And suddenly, out of nowhere, you miss me. You can't explain it, but you miss me in your life. I was a pain in the ass, but at least I kept you're life interesting. And deep down, you didn't mind that, because somehow, you knew. You knew all along exactly how I felt about you. That I cared for you more than anyone else in the world, and always would."
"Just listen. You order a drink and take it over by the window, to sit and watch the rain. It's then that you finally admit to yourself that your marriage is in shambles. You feel trapped and alone in this bar, in this life. It's ten years from now. Everyone in here is a stranger. You're almost a stranger to yourself. You wish I were here. So do I. More than anything. You wish I were here to give you some advice. Advice about what to do about your marriage. But you don't need me to, because you know me. You already know me well enough to know what I would say. You can almost hear my voice, whispering into your ear, like I am now. Saying 'Divorce him. Be happy, Claire. Don't throw your life away on anything except true love'."
"Trevor, I don't think I like this story."
"Well, that's life, Claire. It's always too late to change the past, but you can always change the future. So you finally decide. Decide to divorce him. And for the first time in years, as you sit watching the rain, you feel happy. Like a weight has been lifted off your chest. You look towards the bar, and whisper. 'Thank you, Trevor.' even though you know I'll never hear it. Feeling reborn, you walk out that door, the one just a few feet in front of you right now. You're whole life is ahead of you, and it never seemed brighter."
"But couldn't I see if I could find you and-"
"No, Claire. Not anymore. It's too late. That chance has passed. Close your eyes. I'm still holding your arms. I won't let you fall. Close your eyes... and take a step."
"There. What year is it now, Trevor?"
"You're in Chicago again, to re-open your old practice. You start seeing patients and couples again. Fifteen years have passed since we last saw each other. You listen, day after day, to all these people come in and talk about their romantic problems, and you think of me. More than you used to, anyway. You've dated since the divorce, taken a lover or two, but none of them have ever clicked. Because somewhere in the back of your mind you somehow got the strange outdated notion that you shouldn't settle for anything less than 'true love'. And then, in the spur of the moment, you grab the phone and decide to find me. Track me down after all these years."
"Hmm. I must be getting senile in my old age."
"You're almost fifty, Claire. Not that old. And you're still a knock out. You're still beautiful. At least to me. You will always be beautiful to me. You search through mountains of electronic records, until you find some information. It's from several years ago, back when you handed me off to another therapist. From there you follow the trail, read the reports, add the addendums, read even more reports, upload some updates. From acquaintances, doctors, friends, on and so on, until you get to the end of the electronic paper trail. And you see something you don't want to see. You finally know where to find me."
"Trevor, I don't... I don't see the point of what you're telling-"
"Do you think life has a point? That life has a point besides the ones we make for ourselves? You've tracked me down, Claire. And you go to see me. It's raining. It always seems to be raining when you think of me, somehow. It's raining at the cemetery as you look down on my tombstone. It reads, Trevor Hale. Cupid. God of Love. The water drips off your umbrella, and you start to cry, without even knowing why. It starts slowly, but gets deeper, because you're missing me more than you ever thought you would. Maybe it's because you're seeing all the things, all the chances in your life you'll never get back . All gone, forever. Suddenly you notice someone approaching with their face hidden, coming closer..."
"Trevor, please... stop. I don't want to hear any more of this."
"Life doesn't stop, Claire. Ever. It keeps going whether you notice it or not. Keep your eyes closed. I've still got your arms, I'm right here, behind you, holding you. You look up and for a second you wonder if the man approaching could be.... You whisper to yourself hopefully. 'Trevor...' But no. It's Champ. He didn't expect to see you there, and he comes over and hugs you. It's been so long. You ask what he's doing there. He says he always comes to visit my grave on Cupid's day. That surprises you. You didn't even know it was February 14th."
"Trevor, I don't like this story. It's... so sad."
"I guess I should be grateful you think so. If I were there to feel anything. You ask Champ what happened to me after you left. He says I went on for years trying to set couples up. But eventually... I stopped. Going home to Olympus didn't seem to mean as much to me any more. But I always believed I was Cupid. Always. And I always talked about you. I always spoke fondly of you. Never an unkind word. I never married. I never dated. I waited for true love. And Champ tells you why. Because I was always in love with you. Always, from the beginning."
"Trevor, I... maybe we should stop and talk about this."
"You can't. I'm dead and gone. Killed by a cardiac failure. Ironic, isn't it? The god of love dying from a broken heart. Everything, every life ends so fast. We barely have time to hold on to anything. I was all too mortal an immortal in the end. You feel something wet roll down on your cheek that isn't the rain, just like... wait. Are you crying, Claire?"
"Trevor, stop this. Stop this story, please... I don't want to think of losing you. Just... stop."
"The story doesn't stop, Claire. It never did. We just forget that we're telling it. You wipe your cheek, like my hand is doing now, and ask Champ if you could have a moment alone over my grave. You're there alone, in the rain, and you realize there are feelings in you that you never admitted or knew you had. Because you were afraid, or maybe you just weren't paying attention to your own life... I don't know. That happens sometimes. But the feelings are there. They're real. Because you realize that no one ever loved you as much as I did. That I would have done anything for you-"
"That no matter where you were, it was like I was there, holding your arms, not letting you fall. Not letting you trip. That I would love you always. But you know it's too late now. So much time has passed. You kneel down, wiping tears off your face, wondering what might have been if you hadn't been so scared, if you had only bothered to open your eyes and see. Suddenly you think back. To that day fifteen years ago. When we were both sitting here at Taggetty's. When you asked me to prove I was Cupid. So, kneeling there in the rain, you suddenly ask me again. Out of nowhere, you hear my voice, as if it's whispering in your ear, as if I'm standing right behind you. You close your eyes, and you ask me-"
"Prove to me that you're Cupid, Trevor."
"The only way anyone proves who they are is through what they do. How they love. Through the love they feel, and the love they give. It's the only thing that really matters. My heart never left you, Claire. The rest... is nothing."
"Trevor? Trevor... where'd you go? Come back! Why aren't you standing behind me any more? Can I open my eyes?"
"I'm still here, Claire. Standing in front of you."
"But I can't feel you near me. I can't see you. You're not holding my arms any more. I'm... alone."
"Then you weren't listening. I never left you, not in my heart. You were never alone. I'm giving you proof that I'm Cupid. That what I feel is an immortal love that transcends time. Because I have the ability to take you back. Back to where it all started. Back to Taggerty's, when you first asked me that question. I'm giving you a second chance, a second chance most people never have. Right here and now. I haven't gone anywhere. I never left. Don't open your eyes yet. Until you've made a choice. What do you want, Claire?"
"I want... to touch you again, Trevor. To touch your face, to feel it real under my hands, to feel it real and alive..."
"Like this? Like your touching me now? With your eyes still closed to the story that's been going on between us, every second of every day?"
"Yes... your face is so soft. So warm..."
"All those years when you were looking for me Claire, I was waiting for you right here where it all started."
"Trevor, I never knew how you felt about me. How I felt. Well... maybe I did. But I guess you were right. I was too scared or too blind to notice."
"That's why it's a second chance. The question is what are you going to do with it?"
"I think I'm going to... to kiss you, Trevor."
"But what about your proof? Proof that I'm Cupid. And that Cupid loves you with all his heart? And that he was always as real as you are. As long as you're willing to believe... and see."
"Maybe I want both Trevor. A kiss and proof. Maybe they're the same thing. Proof that I should finally let myself love you. Proof that I'm in your arms and never leaving them. Proof that I'm no longer blind to the love story that we're telling... together. Prove all that. Prove to me that you're Cupid, Trevor."
"That's simple, Claire. It was always so simple from the beginning. Just take one small step... and open your eyes."